The great Toronto Caesar challenge: the Cajun Caesar
Despite its Canadian heritage, you could make a very good case for the Caesar being a Cajun dish. Its combination of tomato, seafood and spice sounds like something ripped straight out of the bayou. That's why when I heard that Southern Accent prided themselves on their spicy Cajun Caesar, I knew it had to give it a whirl.
Heat is what sets the Caesar apart from most traditional cocktails, and it's that harmony of spice and the cooling nature of the Clamato that makes it so appealing. It's when you find that sweet spot, when you take a sip and it burns so you take another to wash it down and repeat ad infinitum. It's why the motto: "When you see one, you want one" works so well.
So, does the Cajun Caesar live up to the hype? Can a Canadian creation coexist in the bayou?
It's the house infused jalapeno vodka that gives this Caesar its kick. I've been looking forward to finding a really spicy Caesar throughout this whole series and to be honest, I'm a little surprised it has taken this long. To me, a Caesar is meant to be spicy and with all the experimentation happening with this beverage, someone, somewhere should be going all in on heat.
Southern Accent's Caesar is definitely the hottest I've found yet. But they've treated the heat properly. Rather than just upping the scoville scale, their jalapeno infusion gives the drink heaps of flavour too. It's a nice heat too, one that you taste on your palate, but still builds in the back of your throat. It leaves your lips tingling and might even have you reaching for a glass of water as well.
It brings the vodka into the drink more too, rather that letting it disappear. As I've mentioned before, a Caesar has bold flavours and so often the vodka is completely lost, even with many other infused vodkas the added flavour is too subtle to make out through the Clamato and Tabasco. Not the case here, Jalapeno front and centre with a good background of Worcestershire.
The Cajun Caesar is served in a proper highball, the perfect sized glass to balance each of the ingredients with a 1 oz pour. The glass, rimmed with Cajun blackening spice, is garnished with just a wedge of lemon and I can't help but feel it's a little sparse. Although, I must admit, the rim spice compliments the jalapeno vodka really, really well.
Before dedicating my life to drinking Caesars I would have assumed there would be a ton of good, fiery examples of the drink. Alas, not the case. The problem is that Tabasco alone - in my books - isn't going to induce the kind of sweat-on-your-brow, hurts-when-you-pee kind of heat that I'm looking for. This one doesn't go quite that far, but it's great to find a place that doesn't dumb down their spice for mass consumption. Infusions are commonplace now - which is amazing - but none done as well as this.
It's tough to give a score to value these days. If I feel like virtually everything is overpriced, does that just make me cheap? This one is $9.04 with tax, which means you'll be paying at least ten bucks with tip. That's common, but it's still expensive. That being said, I'd choose this one over many of the others so it's probably justified.
TOTAL SCORE 19/25 (76%)
After spending over a week and a half on a daily Caesar routine - pretty awesome, I know - you kind of get to a point where a Caesar just starts to taste like, well, a Caesar. That's a great thing, and I'm not complaining, but it's nice when you're surprised with something that really smacks you in the face. Jalapeno is such a natural pairing for this; it fills the drink with both flavour and heat but also kind of outlines the Clamato, which acts as a cooling agent against the spice. Everything just tastes amplified.
Day 1: The challenge begins
Day 2: Extra horseradish
Day 3: The $3 Caesar
Day 4: A Caesar with chopsticks
Day 5: With a cherry tomato
Day 6: The Irish Caesar
Day 7: The red wine Caesar
Day 8: The Monster Caesar
Day 9: MSG Free
Day 10: The Classic Caesar
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